Allision Bertholf and her ladies Bible study class have decided to practice the tradition of Lent this Easter season. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 5 of this year) and covers a period of six weeks before Easter Sunday.
While the practice of Lent is a sacred tradition among many Christians, it is not explicitly found in Scripture. However, the emphasis of Lent on prayer, repentance, and self-denial as a means of spiritual preparation is clearly connected to the teachings of Christ and his followers.
The truth is that Baptists, as a rule, don’t tend to observe Lent. This isn’t good or bad, it simply has never been a part of Baptist tradition and practice.
But that is what I love about SIBC! Because we have believers from so many evangelical backgrounds, we have the opportunity to learn from one another, and to learn about traditions and practices that can add to our own walk with Christ.
That’s why this Sunday, March 9, I have asked Allison to share with our congregation about the commitment of her class to observe Lent this Easter season. It’s a new experience for Allison, who grew up, and remains a faithful Southern Baptist. Frankly, she’s excited about it, and so are the members of her class. I’m excited about it as well. That’s why I have asked her to share.
Regardless of whether we decide to observe Lent one thing is for sure – We all need to take time to reflect on the meaning Easter, and the call of Jesus Christ to “FOLLOW ME!”
I look forward to hearing Allison, and I look forward to seeing you this Sunday at SIBC.
Greetings church! I hope that you are having a great week. In spite of some snow and cold recently, Seoul is warming up!
I wanted to take time to share some mission opportunities with you. Mike Windle, our IMB missionary, together with his wife, Diane, will be leading a group to Mongolia in August. You will be hearing more about this, but it is a good idea to start praying now and asking if God is calling you to go on this trip.
Of course, our annual Taebaek English Camp is scheduled for the end of July and first of August. Ingil Cho is the point person for this mission. We spend a week with our Hawaiian partners serving in this part of Korea that is still very strongly Buddhist. It is a great opportunity to reach children and parents with the gospel.
In March we begin our new church plant in Pyeontaek. We need volunteers to help in various ways. Are you willing to devote one weekend each month to serving in this new ministry?
Other possible mission trips for 2014 include ministry on the islands of Hawaii, Manilla, and China Bible distribution through “Go With God.”
Ryan Rushton is our mission’s leader. You may contact him at ryan (dot) rushton (at) sibckorea.org. Feel free to contact Ryan about any of these ministries, or other opportunities.
It’s good to be back at SIBC. Sherri and I had a great time in the States with our family, and as we return to Seoul, we are excited about what God will do in our church family this winter and spring.
Sunday I began a new series entitled – “A Word You Can Count On”. It is based on several passages of Scripture in the Old Testament book of Joshua. God has given us His Word, and He has promised us just as He promised Joshua, “I will not leave you, or forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5) You can listen to that message on our website, or subscribe to our SIBC podcast to get the messages automatically downloaded through iTunes.
For many of you this New Year brings with it some great challenges. You may look at the obstacles you face, or the trials you are experiencing and wonder, “How can I possibly make it through this year?” But God is faithful. As we learned Sunday, He is a covenant God and the covenant He has entered into with you and me is sealed by the blood of His son, Jesus Christ.
In a world of broken promises and daunting challenges, we can count on God and His Word.
I hope you will join me in the weeks ahead as together we discover the faithfulness of our God and His Word.
Happy New Year SIBC! I pray that, in this New Year, you will experience more of God’s grace and Spirit than ever before. One of the best ways to do that is through relationships with other disciples. We really do need each other.
Be sure and check out our most current small groups. Maybe this is a time for you to join together with others as you seek to honor your New Year’s resolutions!
Beginning January 12, I will be preaching a series of messages entitled, A Word You Can Count On. We will be looking at passages of scripture from the Old Testament book of Joshua. Our focus in this series is simply this – In a day of broken promises, you can count on God and His Word.
We may break our New Year’s resolutions, but God NEVER breaks His word to us!
Be sure and check out the weekly study guides that will accompany these messages and be posted on our web site.
Thanks for checking out my blog here at SIBC. While I do try and post here regularly, I want to encourage you to check out SIBC’s mission web site, Impact Today. Many of my more teaching related blogs will be found there.
I was so blessed by both our “Not So Silent Night” and “Three Wise Men and a Baby” productions this past Saturday and Sunday. Kerey Smith and Mike Hagen are such a blessing to SIBC in our music and children’s ministries.
I will be back in the United States until the second week in January. Meanwhile, we have some excellent teachers to fill in while I am gone. All of these men are ordained pastors and excellent preachers. Also, all of them serve on our Leadership Team at SIBC.
Ben Horne, Chaplain at Yongsan International School will be preaching the morning of December 22. Jeff Kendall will teach at the 3 PM service that day. Ingil Cho will be preaching both services on December 29, and Jeff Kendall will fill in for me on January 12 at both services.
I will miss SIBC while I am gone, but as always, I will be with you in spirit.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
The homogeneous church growth principle teaches that the fastest growing churches are those that appeal to people of similar origins, interest, and other factors of conformity. It is a practical approach to growing churches, and it works, but I don’t believe it is God’s ideal. Read more >>
What is wrong with the church? I had an interesting lunch this week. A young man and his family recently attended SIBC. Their only reason for attending was to satisfy the desire of visiting parents to attend church. Like so many others I have met in recent years, this young man belongs to a growing community of people who, while believing in Christ, are disenfranchised with the church.
To be honest, I understand their feelings. Most of the current community of the disenfranchised grew up in church. Many still remain committed to the reality of Christ. The problem most of these people have is twofold. Read more >>
What do the Three Little Pigs have to do with the Bible? Or, what about the Ugly Ducking, or the Race Between the Tortoise and the Hare? Is there any connection between the stories we regularly share with our children and the teaching of Scripture? Come find out as Pastor Dan begins a six week series entitled, “Not Just For Kids – Children’s Stories for all Ages.”
It’s been a while since my last blog post. No, I haven’t been goofing off. I just haven’t been ready for the follow up on what I’m calling The Reformation of the Heart. So, I’ve been praying and reading, studying and meditating. I’m taking off the second half of April to do some writing. So far, so good. There is a lot of stuff spilling out and a clear theme shaping up. It has to do with the institutionalized church and the way it depersonalizes the Christian faith and community.
Returning to the theme from my previous post, Jesus told the religious leaders in his day to Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. That’s the problem with institutions, they demand sacrifice, not mercy. Institutions by their very nature are heartless and impersonal. Their faces are seen in buildings and balance sheets, budgets and bylaws. Their existence depends on sacrifice. And because they are religious automatons, mercy is irrelevant. Resistance is futile and you will be assimilated . . . or crushed!
For those whose God is the institution–or at least they can no longer conceive of him apart from the institution (which is of course, idolatry)–sacrificial, merciless religion is the only way. Fashioned and crafted by their own hands, supported by their hard earned monies, and propped up by their diligent, and often guilt motivated service, those whose god is the institutional church work hard to keep him alive. In return they receive certain rewards for their religious service – recognition, prestige, position, and place.
The leaders of these institutions are often rewarded for their good works by moving up the ladder of the institutional hierarchy. There they receive the blessings of their god evidenced by lavish offices, spacious homes, luxury cars, growing financial portfolios, and vacations in exotic places. In time, some of these leaders are crowned with divinity by the institutional god. They are revered by the masses. Their words are spoken and received ex cathedra. Always chained to the god whose life depends on them, and on whose lives theirs now depends, they place heavy burdens on the masses. Weekly or monthly giving is not enough, and taxes are increased through special offerings. Heavy handed recruitment programs are developed to fill vacant positions in the incubation chamber, or on the finance committee.
Meanwhile many who join the institution in search of the God of Jesus Christ are being pressured to leave the God they came seeking for the god of the institution. Those who resist are crushed. Those who buckle under the pressure are assimilated. Both find themselves in a dry and thirsty land.
I know I’m painting a dismal picture here, but that’s what I see when I look at much of today’s church. Prophetic voices like those of A.W. Tozer, C.S. Lewis, G.K. Chesterton, and others have warned us for decades of this merciless, institutionalized church. In my last blog post I mentioned Eugene Peterson. His is another prophetic voice crying out in this dry and thirsty land. Just this week I read an article in the April 9, 2012, edition of Newsweek entitled, The Forgotten Jesus. It’s an excellent mainstream media assessment of what is happening to the church in America, and it bears witness to what I believe is the current church reformation.
It has been a long time coming, but I’m choosing to add my meager voice to the cry in our day for reformation. I don’t believe this reformation will be accomplished by resurgent fundamentalism, or an emerging Christianity that effectively neuters the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds, though there are elements of truth found in both of these present day movements. This reformation, what I’m calling The Reformation of the Heart, will be a mustard seed movement. It will grow silently, steadily. It will blossom in unexpected places and churches. Places like Seoul, South Korea and churches like SIBC. God delights in working from the fringes. Most important, God delights in working not through institutions, but people. Not through organization, but inspiration. After all, it was this kind of movement that gave birth to our faith. And it has been these kinds of silent, mustard seed movements that throughout the centuries have returned the church to the power of purity, and the strength of simplicity.
That’s enough for now. I’m just glad to be a part of what God is doing in these days. I’m glad to be a part of SIBC.